I Have a Little Dreidel

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"I Have a Little Dreidel"[1] (also known as "The Dreidel Song"[1] or "Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel") is a children's Chanukah song in the English-speaking world that also exists in a Yiddish version called "Ikh Bin A Kleyner Dreydl", (Yiddish: איך בין אַ קלײנער דרײדל Lit: I am a little dreidel German: ich bin ein kleiner dreidel). The song is about making a dreidel and playing with it.

History[edit]

The lyrics for the English version were written by Samuel S. Grossman[1] and the composer of the English version is listed as Samuel E. Goldfarb (also S.E. Goldfarb).[1] The song was written in 1927.[2][3][4] The Yiddish version was both written and composed by Mikhl Gelbart[1], albeit under the name of Ben Arn, a pseudonym referring to himself as the son of Aaron.[5]) There is a question about who composed this music since the melody for both the Yiddish and the English versions are precisely the same.

The meaning of the lyrics to the Yiddish and English versions is largely the same. However, in English, the singer sings about a dreidel, whereas in the original Yiddish version, the singer is the four-sided spinning top made out of "blay" (Yiddish: בלײַ‎), which translates to lead. The original version is historically accurate. In the English version, the singer has a four-sided spinning top made out of clay, yet clay is not easily spun.

Versions[edit]

English version

I have a little dreidel. I made it out of clay.
And when it's dry and ready, then dreidel I shall play.
Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, I made it out of clay.
Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, then dreidel I shall play.

It has a lovely body, with legs so short and thin.
When it gets all tired, it drops and then I win!
Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, with leg so short and thin.
Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, it drops and then I win!

My dreidel's always playful. It loves to dance and spin.
A happy game of dreidel, come play now let's begin.
Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, it loves to dance and spin.
Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel. Come play now let's begin.

I have a little dreidel. I made it out of clay.
When it's dry and ready, dreidel I shall play.
Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, I made you out of clay.
Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, then dreidel I shall play.

Yiddish version Transliteration (German spelling) Translation

איך בין אַ קליינער דריידל, געמאַכט בין איך פון בלײַ.
קומט לאָמיר אַלע שפּילן, אין דריידל – איינס, צוויי, דרײַ.
אוי, דריידל, דריידל, דריידל, אוי, דריי זיך, דריידל, דריי.
טאָ לאָמיר אַלע שפּילן, אין דריידל, איינס און צוויי.

Ich bin a kleiner dreidel, gemacht bin ich fun blai.
Kumt lomir ale schpilen, in dreidel – eins zwei drai.
Oi, dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, oi, drei sich, dreidel, drei.
To lomir ale schpilen, in dreidel eins un zwei.

I am a little dreidel, I am made from lead.
Come let's all play dreidel – one two three.
Oh, dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, oh, dreidel, dreidel, spin.
So let's all play dreidel, one and two.

און איך האָב ליב צו טאַנצן, זיך דרייען אין אַ ראָד.
טאָ לאָמיר אַלע טאַנצן אַ דריידל-קאַראַהאָד.
אוי, דריידל, דריידל, דריידל, אוי, דריי זיך, דריידל, דריי.
טאָ לאָמיר אַלע שפּילן, אין דריידל, איינס און צוויי.

Un ich hob lib zu tanzen, sich dreien in a rod
To lomir ale tanzen, a dreidel-karahod.
Oi, dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, oi, drei sich, dreidel, drei.
To lomir ale schpilen, in dreidel eins un zwei.

And I love to dance, to spin in a circle.
So let's all dance a dreidel-circle.
Oh, dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, oh dreidel, dreidel, spin.
So let's all play dreidel, one and two.

See also[edit]

References[edit]